What is the Urban Adventure League

The Urban Adventure League was founded in 2004 by me, Shawn Granton, as a way to mesh my interests in bicycling, alternative transportation, geography, and history into a pseudo-organization.  It is non-profit, as I don’t intend to make money through the league.

The Urban Adventure League hosts various events that explore the urban environment using feet, bicycles, public transit, and possibly other alternative forms of transport. All Urban Adventure League sponsored events and projects will emphasize fun, de-emphasize competition, and foster connectivity and awareness. There’s plenty of interesting things to be done in an urban environment, and we want to encourage and foster creative ways to enhance our living experience to its fullest. Boredom will not be allowed.

MEMBERSHIP: You’re a member!  Easy as that.  No dues or whatever.

THE BLOG: is where I post information about upcoming Urban Adventures, reports on past Adventures, stuff going on in my life, and things pertaining to Urban Adventure League related interests.

Generically, the bicycle rides I lead fall under the category of “Shift” rides, as in the organization Shift to Bikes. More info about them can be found on their website.What this means is my rides are low-key, casual affairs. They’re not about “let’s ride 30 miles in 2 hours at a fast pace”. No, my rides fall into the 3-10 mile range at a slower pace. Spandex not required. We don’t leave people behind.

Since a lot of my rides are about history and/or geography, there are lots of stops. Keep this in mind if you are an anxious rider and need to always be pedaling. Also keep this in mind if you have young children, because it has happened in the past that some kids get too bored and cranky with all the stops.

For rides such as the Pedal Potluck Picnic, you should have the ability to carry your own stuff. There is no SAG wagon, no support. Carry it in a backpack, courier bag, rack, pannier, trailer, basket, whatever. But you’ll be the one who has to carry it.

Some of my rides end in the twilight hour or after dark. So it’s always a good idea to bring your lights with you.

The rides begin for the most part in the central city, close to a bicycle route. I also try to start rides in destinations with good public transportation. Pretty much all of my rides are not loops, so don’t expect to end up back where we started. Don’t expect to end up near where we started, either. If you do need to get back to the start point, I will give you guidance and directions as long as you let me know.

The walks generally have a good mix of walking conditions: sidewalk, street, grass, dirt, mud, and the occasional stairway. Bear this in mind. Good walking shoes is a must. Something waterproof is recommended for the rainier months, since we can expect to see some mud.

Bringing water is a good idea, since we won’t see many water fountains (if any) along the route. A snack is recommended as well, though I always try to find a good place for refreshment along the route.

Dress for the weather. Rain is a possibility in the winter, so a rain jacket is a good idea. And remember it can get a little cold out there. Once we’re moving, it’s fine. But when we stop, you can get cold–fast!

As with rides, walks are generally not a loop. At the end we’ll hop on a bus, so have appropriate transit fare.

DRIVING TO A START LOCATION? Please DON’T if you can. Use public transit/bicycles/your feet. We don’t take parking into consideration. We can understand if you’re coming from far away you might want to drive (and we won’t give you crap if you do) but please remember the UAL is all about alternative transportation.

IN GENERAL: There’s never any fee with an Urban Adventure League event! Of course, there may be transit fare involved and I generally am not going to pay for your food. Donations are always accepted, and I have zines for sale. But the event itself is free…free…FREE!


12 thoughts on “What is the Urban Adventure League

  1. Welcome to a better place to blog,ol friend 🙂 Still enjoying (and using) those panniers I scored from you a couple years back 😀

    The DC (Steve)

  2. I grew up in Connecticut and have a beaten stem I bought from Devil’s Gear in a pre-race emergency in 2005 or 2006. It was more of a “race” than a race.
    I spent about a month in Portland before returning to Austin. It was tough to leave Portland, as I’m not a fan of Austin.
    My bike rides are typically slow, and i stop to look around, take pictures (I always have a certain German film camera with me). Sometimes I go roaring up hills, or slowly up hills (the Rocky Mountain I mentioned in a blog comment is a single speed. My other bike is a well-ridden track bike that I take surprisingly far off road, to the amusement of a friend who has a bike with gears and upright posture). Sometimes there is pushing, which makes me happy I gave up clipless pedals ages ago.
    I’m planning some adventures when I get a break from class. There is a state park not far away and Google Maps shows a lot of rights-of-way and access roads there, but I can’t tell if there are fences. I have to go check it out, and get some bikepacking practice/gear testing in.
    So, the blog is great. I love history and information. I love that it’s not one more douche who worships John Watson (aka The Radavist) and recently discovered “gravel,” what the rest of us have called a “dirt road” for a very long time.

  3. Hey Shawn, so nice to hear from you via my latest post about cycling into Vancouver (Canada), “UPDATE: CYCLING TO VANCOUVER OVER THE FRASER RIVER ON THE PORT MANN BRIDGE.”
    (https://ulrikerodrigues.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/update-cycling-to-vancouver-over-the-fraser-river-on-the-port-mann-bridge/). I feel pretty out of touch with the old Momentum crowd, so I feel pretty flattered to hear from you. Adventure on! – Ulrike

    PS – You may be interested to know I just came back from 3 months’ worth of non-urban cycling adventures in the tiny village of Lauzun France. You can see ride reports (with maps, photos) at: https://cardbordeaux.wordpress.com/.

  4. Shawn:
    I live in Ashland, OR. Four of us, seniors, enjoy doing multiple-day, self-sufficient bicycle (&trike) tours. We have in mind doing one in Portland environs this summer. Other than Champoeg and Scappoose, I can’t find any other campsite closer to downtown. I’m told by Portland Visitors, there aren’t any.
    It seems likely there must be spots to stealth camp near downtown. We make no fires and eat all meals out.
    Would you have any ideas and suggestions?

    • If you were into “stealth camping”, I’d aim for Forest Park. Please note that most of the “choice stealth camping spots” near downtown will probably be occupied by a group of homeless folks, so keep that in mind.

      As for legal camping, the closest places will be Oxbow, Dodge Park, and Barton. They are all about 15-25 miles from downtown.

  5. Hi Shawn,
    My name is Terry Campbell and I am one of the co-hosts of the KBOO (90.7 FM) Bike Show.

    My co-host Tori Bortman and I are going to do a show on Wed, August 2 (from 11am to Noon) that covers one to multi-day bike touring adventures that are mostly focused on (it could be by phone) the paved terrain. I am interested to know if you would be willing to come on and share your experience preparing for bike tours, what the Urban Adventure League is all about, and a favorite local one or multi-day routes with our listeners for 15-20 minutes?

    This show will hopefully inspire some of our listeners to grow some adventure wings and show them that its not too hard to get out there this summer. Plus, there are lots of resources to help them.

    Let me know if you are available to join our discussion.

    Terry C

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